Personal Essay In Third Person Essays On Embryonic Stem Cell Research
In many cases, using the first person pronoun can improve your writing, by offering the following benefits: The original example sounds less emphatic and direct than the revised version; using “I” allows the writers to avoid the convoluted construction of the original and clarifies who did what.Here is an example in which alternatives to the first person would be more appropriate: Original example: In the original example, using the first person grounds the experience heavily in the writer’s subjective, individual perspective, but the writer’s purpose is to describe a phenomenon that is in fact objective or independent of that perspective.Students often arrive at college with strict lists of writing rules in mind.Often these are rather strict lists of absolutes, including rules both stated and unstated: We get these ideas primarily from teachers and other students.Often these ideas are derived from good advice but have been turned into unnecessarily strict rules in our minds.The problem is that overly strict rules about writing can prevent us, as writers, from being flexible enough to learn to adapt to the writing styles of different fields, ranging from the sciences to the humanities, and different kinds of writing projects, ranging from reviews to research.It also offers some alternatives if you decide that either “I” or personal experience isn’t appropriate for your project.
Here’s another example in which an alternative to first person works better: Original example: Although you may run across instructors who find the casual style of the original example refreshing, they are probably rare.
But conventions seem to be changing in some cases—for instance, when a scientific writer is describing a project she is working on or positioning that project within the existing research on the topic.
Check with your science instructor to find out whether it’s o.k. Social Sciences: Some social scientists try to avoid “I” for the same reasons that other scientists do.
Because college writing situations vary widely in terms of stylistic conventions, tone, audience, and purpose, the trick is deciphering the conventions of your writing context and determining how your purpose and audience affect the way you write.
The rest of this handout is devoted to strategies for figuring out when to use “I” and personal experience.